Posts Tagged With: freecycle

Christmas Decorating Practically for Free!

Decorating for the season doesn’t have to be expensive.  First, there are all the markdowns after Christmas to buy ornaments and whatnot for the next year.  Then there’s everything you can score for free, like this basket.



So I painted it, first with a wash of color on the wicker using watered down craft acrylic paint to make a teal color.  Wasn’t fully pleased with the tones on the wicker, so I added a dry brush of white.


Then I put a cheap $4 garland in it.  Then I added some driftwood I scored at a garage sale for $2 (didn’t even use all the driftwood) and a $1 set of mini string lights (from the Dollar Store).  Don’t have a fireplace so this was something to give the feel of a winter fire.  If you don’t have any logs, find some thick branches and cut to size.



Last year I scored these reindeer at the local thrift store for $2 (for both – there was a 50% sale that day).  Added a little ribbon, a cheap cheap garland from the Dollar Store, cluster lights I already had (bought at the Dollar Store for 50 cents!) and a puffy snowball type of floral ($2.50 on sale) for another little Christmas/winter scene.


reindeer-copyAnd here they are all lit up.



In a front window where my window seat exists, I put up another scene.  I scaled back this year and only used the mini tree and lamp post.  Usually I have two Victorian carolers alongside them.  The mini tree is actually the top section of a large artificial tree I had gotten for free that’s stuffed inside a decorative container I bought years ago at a craft fair (maybe $8).  The lamp post came from another craft fair (about $12 all decorated!) years ago as well.  Cheap string lights are all that’s needed on this tree – which I don’t bother stringing year after year.  I just fold it all up and toss it in a box.


Since I now put up a fake tree, I miss the smell of fresh pine.  Sure you could spend money on those Scenticles, but free is better.  So off to Home Depot and Lowes I go about 2 weeks prior to Christmas and scavenge all the cut branches they pile from trimming the real trees that people buy.  I try to find a variety of pines – and take as much as I can find.  They’re all free for the taking.  Check out any lot that sells trees to collect branches.

One arrangement sits in an old galvanized bucket that I covered with burlap I already had (just use a rubber band to hold it around the bucket).  The branches came from my yard (free) which I painted white (paint already on hand).  Then I found these acrylic snowflake ornaments (Micheal’s) which I scored for $1 (on sale).


The other arrangement I keep in the kitchen.  The snowman hat I scored at Michael’s for 70% off so it was a steal.  I stuff all the greenery and branches in a plastic container inside both the bucket and hat so that they stay fresh all winter.


Once the Christmas decor gets put away I still have winter decor with these two arrangements.  If you put up a live tree, just cut branches off it before you toss the tree to make winter arrangements.  It’s what I used to do when I put up live trees so that the house didn’t feel so bare once the holidays passed.  The neighbors probably thought I was a little nuts cutting up a tree after Christmas, but hey, it was still winter…

Now that’s how to do Christmas decorating on the cheap without looking cheap.




Categories: crafts, decor, junk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is It Bigger Than a Bread Box?

So I found this old wood bread box for free (my favorite kind of sale).

this is the original breadbox I started with...

the original freebie I started with…

check out the roomy interior

check out the roomy interior

Using it as a bread box isn’t a good idea where I live because the bread will become moldy before I finish it, but I thought it would make a great mail station. So first I painted it a creamy white so that it wouldn’t stand out too much on the kitchen counter. Then I started designing my transfers.

First I found an image that said Postcards for the top. Then on my computer I created an old postmark and return addresses from friends and family over the years. Transferring these images was a bit tricky.

the top of the box

the top of the box

While I experimented with different techniques on a painted wooden piece I plan to repaint, for unknown reasons it just wasn’t working the same on the bread box, which meant repainting the base — several times. Some images I printed on waxed paper and transferred by using a damp sponge on the painted box, laying the image face down on it and using a credit card rubbing the back side of the paper. Others I made laser copies and used my heat tool. Don’t even ask me why one technique didn’t work for all the images. I still don’t know.

...and here's the entire front and top

…and here’s the entire front with postmark and return labels

I even found some old postcards that I transferred to the sides of the box.

this is one side view

this is one side view

So now I have a place to hide all the mail that looks neater than laying in an open basket.  Now that it’s been sitting around for a few months, I’m thinking of repainting it.  At least now I know the best ways to transfer the designs…



Categories: crafts, decor, junk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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